Category Archives: 2 Minute Thoughts

Professional Learning Network or PCN, ‘C’ for Crying

Coz she’s a student again

for good or bad who knows

She chose this path

and now she is stuck

what brought her here

will not get her there

much struggle awaits

eats into the poor brain

sneaks into the sleep

makes her a total wreck

now all thru’ her life

she held a few hands steady

patted a few backs many

put a smile here and

gave a shoulder there

now when she’s on this journey

she needs a helping hand for sure

a shoulder to cry

an ear to hear the woes

(mostly her fears)

‘a paper not done’

‘procrastinator number one’

the teacher is angry

the student is bewildered

what got her here

is madness for sure

now if you may

friend, bystander

curious onlooker

or cursory glance-r

if you have the gumption

the grit and the notion

to help a student

quick to learn

as to have fun

to read and to forget

to write and be merry

to check on progress

without censure

be kind enough

to step in

afterall they said

world is one family

or so she has heard

knowing she is mad

knowledge that there are others madder

comforts her

if in kind censure and critical advice

you excel,

if times weigh on you

and you have an ear to lend

write to a soul

tangled in pages, theories and more

this is a request

so drop in a hi and bolster a soul


you shall be visited by bounties galore

When the degree comes

and if she is still sane and sturdy

a treat for you is for sure

if not well, consider your time wasted and sorry aforehand!

PS: Professional lamenting, a wise woman said, ‘all doctors are mad’, maybe!

Why so late

My friend said that she would ideally have got her doctoral degree a good ten years back, but it did not happen.

Apparently, she had a tiff with her guide, who did not approve of her thesis, dilly dallying it for a decade!

That was a huge loss to her personal and professional life, literally!

Another friend of mine shared how a young girl that she knew had started her doctoral studies abroad and quit it after four years when her guide demanded sexual favors from her.

Four years of her life gone to dust and no degree either. Apparently, she was so devastated that she decided not even to pursue her case. She did not want to have to do anything with the man, ever again!

Years ago, when I completed my post graduation, my affable and much respected professor insisted, ‘you should do the phd’ . ‘Yes’, said I eager to please him.

When I started to find out about phd I heard so many stories of all kinds of manipulation that I decided long back what kind of guide I would like to have for my studies.

When I found an opportunity to work with a lady of mettle and character, I jumped at it, and it took me 20 years to get here, just to begin another journey of learning.

And I must count myself lucky to be where I am today under the tutelage of a friend who is also a guide. But not many are as lucky as I am.

Certain roles provide more avenues for the ill-intensions to manifest, even rarely, but it should not be the case, really. And one should be wary of getting into such traps.

Like in every relationship, one has to step forward with care, so it is with studies, who is your chosen buddy, who is your chosen mentor, who are the ones who form a part of your circle, choose them wisely.

Keep aside the narcissistic, egoistic boors out of your circle. They don’t deserve to have your friendship.

Life teaches you the value of introspection and self reliance, some times through difficult life experiences, which in retrospect, one realizes as being of great value.

HAD I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W.B. Yeats (1865–1939)
“He Wishes For the Cloths of Heaven”
from the Collected Works of W.B. Yeats

I have always loved these lines from W.B. Yeats but today I realized it has a different perspective as well.

To all the guides, mentors, philosophers, trainers, teachers, one has to say that you are valued more when you are kind, so tread softly, coz you are treading on someone’s dreams.

So, it is ok to start a bit late, just keep going, now that you have started, whatever your destination is.

Walk in and out

Take time. Test a few. Walk in and walk out. Think.

Wait for your dream partner, but explore as you wait, true love is bound to come.

The young man good looking and eloquent spoke of his mantra of love and relationships.

It seemed to her like a test ride.

She listened carefully but she had to wonder how it is about hearts, to peep in, stay and walk away, it must take a lot of heart, and cause a lot of hurt.

Perhaps it is a generational thing.

Perhaps it is just a defense, a mask, a put on.

Yet, she said, ‘I am sure there is someone for you. Being so eloquent, a man of words, young, ambitious and handsome to boot.

Try not to walk in and out of hearts.

Try staying to connect.

Try to find meaning.

It’s your staying that will make it different, for yourself and for her, your girl. ‘

This was not her usual confessing student but a friend from sometime, someone between an acquaintance and a friend maybe, yet she said what she had to say.

‘Was I being prejudiced? Was I judgmental?, asked Anu fearing if she had over stepped the boundary.

‘None’, said I. ‘It is for him to decide. You just shared your perspective. It is ok. He asked and you spoke’.

I looked at her and thought how she was wary of putting her emotions where it would hurt.

Must be her experience.

But where will she go, without starting at all?

I said nothing fearing that I might cross the laxman rekha myself!

Then I saw her smile so positive and knew it is all just fine.

Maybe I am overthinking!, I chided myself.

PS: Just friends

New kid on the block

‘There’s more love in me,’ said Nimmy. ‘Adopt kar loon, ek bachi ko. Acha lagega. Yeh to badi ho rahi hai. Dekho, she doesn’t need me. Then what do I do?’

‘Did you ever tell her?’

‘She!!! Goodness, she was so upset. She asked me to do anything but bring another child to the house. She is ok alone it seems. ‘

‘When I wanted a sibling, you ignored my request. Now I am good

alone, ‘ added a voice from inside.

Nimmy looked at me as if asking for help.

‘I am discussing a friend, bacha,’ I said, trying to soothe Asmi’s anger.

So we were stuck. I wanted to help my friend.

‘But’ ,said Nimmy, ‘I am not sure, do I want this really?

What am I looking for?’

‘Love’ ,said I ‘but first learn to love yourself, Nims’, I added borrowing her wisdom.

‘So, you are using my lines against me no, sly creature’, she hit me playfully.

‘I am thinking of doing something, but this corona, this pay cut, has cut my wings.’

‘Hmm, it is tough, it is perhaps going to be tougher, ‘I added not keen on false assurances.

Take care of yourself.

Stay cheerful.

After all, didn’t they say, this too shall pass.

We smiled catching each other’s eyes and nodding….

Ps: so much love, so much miserliness and loneliness!

Soldier on

How often have you felt that you are stuck?

How often have the odds been against you?

Stacked high and unyielding, threatening and intimidating.

Yet, she said, Anu, you have patiently, almost lovingly crossed those hurdles.

It has been difficult, but tell me, what is not?

Now again, you are faced with a hurdle, of your choice, yes, as a result of a decision you made in good sense.

It does seem impossible.

I see your pain, your struggle so evident, your bewilderment.

I also see your desire to cross the hurdle, move ahead, and a faint hint of a smile, perhaps in the hope of a better time.

There it is.

It has to be.

Go on the path so breaking

step on to the shaky grounds

fearful, yet sure footed

cause there is no option

of turning back

unless you are a coward

hold your breath

look within

find your strength

your friend is set to appear

possibilities of good cheer

are far yet approaching

go on, be yourself

even if it looks ridiculous

be bold, fear not

the universe

that brought you this far

will chart your course further ahead

she commands you to soldier on

don’t dare to disobey

the mighty voice of the inner self

yield now and reap later

be your own commander

the foot soldier and the cavalry

be your own flag bearer

be thou thy self

see you soon

on the other side


Research paralysis

I signed up for research for reasons that made sense to I thought!

*More reading

*More learning


*Belief in a cause

I definitely did not sign up for research thinking it will undo all my learning and experience so far.

So, it is not free writing, oh, not at all.

Plus there has to be a structure.

A certain kind of structure, not just any!

It meant reading but reading a research paper to decode the objective, the method, the tools, the out put and identifying the research gap.

God! why am I doing this to myself!!!

My heart cried out when my ability to deliver extempore became a liability.

My head heated up when jargons brushed way ahead my poor head, trying its best to grasp at the crux of the maze of words, theories and references and make some sense.

It looked rigorous, nay it is rigorous.

It drains my energies. It does, really.

It makes me feel like a proper nincompoop, as the heaviness of my ignorance hits me, the huge gap between what is expected and what is being delivered widens, I realize to my dismay, the problem of my many inadequacies!

It is exhausting.

It is tiring.

It looks meaningless.

Often it feels like I am groping in the darkness, no light to be seen anywhere. I yearn for a research buddy, someone who knows the pain and has a heart full of empathy. Who can just nod and say, ‘I know, I know’, ‘It’s difficult’, ‘You will get there’, ‘Don’t worry’, ‘Sleep’, ‘No, you are not mad’, ‘No, it is normal’, ‘You are doing great’, ‘Gosh, you are even smart’, ‘Oh! I so admire your skills’, ‘Let me do this for you’, ‘Want some coffee’, Oh! you poor thing’ and many such endearing consolations.

I even thought of creating a Rinder for research buddies, how may we overcome the grind!!!

I could have done anything else, travel, maybe, go to parties maybe, all these are equally out of my comfort zone, then why in the world did I stand up for research!!!

But there is a strain of Dr. Faustus in me, one that relishes learning, one who is at home with books in a world far away from reality, to whom library is next to heaven, no, that has not made me intelligent or smart, just an eager reader and learner, with a penchant to get to know stuff.

So, fear of failure is my Mephistopheles, fear of failing my guide, fear of making an absolute fool of myself and now I have to harness that fear to progress in this terribly exhausting and at times exhilarating task.

Looks like a bumpy ride ahead!


Stay on road, stay alive!

OF Ennui

Anu wanted to sleep. A long sleep. More sleep. Then just sleep. Her insistence on sleep annoyed and frightened me.

I wondered if it is loss of interest in living,a setting in of ‘ennui’, but I did not probe, more out of my own fear of a truth that could be too much to handle.

She smiled as cheerfully as always yet she clearly was like a tree trunk that wanted to sit or lean against a wall or just lie down.

This could be burn out I suggested helpfully, ‘nah!’ she ruled it out immediatlely.

I looked on at her ‘so whatness’ and ‘ whateverness’ in distress, not knowing what was there for me to do to help or whether I should just standby or perhaps just move out of the view. I did not know.

She did not know either, I thought, or she should have stopped me when I moved out, declaring my disinterest in one so less interested in self, but, no, she did not call or revert or show any sign of my needfulness, I kept quiet.

That was our last conversation.

I said good bye to a friend who could have been around longer.

Some said it was an accident.

I did not believe it.

I had been witness to her unresponsiveness.

Perhaps I should have checked.

But again, who knows what is right or what is wrong in life.

Everything looks so unclear from from outside.

I picked my bag to visit my second best friend and surely

I am going to stay a bit longer, ask afer a bit more, that should help.

Perhaps she wanted me to realize it.

It is easy to assume what could have been done or could have made a difference but to do what is needed in the moment is the real difficulty.

Anyways, keep the cheers up!

Times Now

Anu wondered why it must be so.

You see, said she.

I am keen to have a social life. Okay, I nod eagerly.

‘So, sometimes I reach out and try to connect but then I withdraw as quickly and am increasingly reclusive when a friend tries to reach out and tries to be friendly, you see the contradiction, don’t you?’

‘I do, I do’, I said thinking to myself that she is quite an anachronism even otherwise.

‘So what is this with me?’

The rhetorical device expects no answer,so I just sigh.

The agent, the loan agent of all people, expected me to be dead, imagine, how annoying it can be, ‘something must have happened to you, said the cunning fellow, coz madam is not lifting call’

‘When did I promise to receive this fool’s calls?’ , stomped Anu, prancing in the room.

‘Somebody asked at least’, I thought of telling her .Knowing her well, I know how difficult it must be to keep up the courtesies with Anu especially!

To someone who should have been on her call list who politely enquired of her welfare, the lady asks, ‘who are you, pray?’

Funny right!

Must be the blues.

Must be the microbes.

Must be the air of winter here, dark and so cold.

Must be the chills.

The general coldness all around.

‘A lady’, she said broke down without rhyme or reason, and cried to the world, ‘I know what you are doing, don’t pretend!’

‘It’s funny’, said the boy ‘but kinda sad too, you know,’ puffing at his cigarette.

A far off dandy who lived his life committed to self, mused,’ may be I should adopt a child.’

‘Oh!’ said his sister, ‘when this happen?’ wondering at the softer side of her so called materialistic brother.

The elderly doctor woman would not let go of her patients. As they chatted on, the patients waiting outside cribbed, ‘the poor thing must be lonely, what if she lives in a mansion, loneliness can kill her too’. After an hour and more, the doc woman turned to call the next patient, while seeing off her former patients,’ check if you have forgotten something’, come again day after, take care ok, your green sari is good’.

The green sari came out with the red t shirt and murmured, ‘sorry’.

‘It’s been an hour., the girl said. ‘I have to study for an exam’.

‘Oh but why didn’t you tell me? Don’t look so annoyed’ and the girl smiled.

The maid looked annoyed that her employer had the luxury of staying at home to enjoy her sickness.

‘Tumba kashtagathu’, ‘very difficult’, she said generally, ‘ I don’t get any rest, bus kelasa, kelasa’, what to do, have to get the girl married!

‘So what makes you so irked when someone asks after you?’ Coz, who cares, really? ‘ She said annoyed.

‘No wonder’ , I said as I got up bidding Anu good bye.

Take care, girl

Cheer up!

Dolo Le Lo!

Being stuck to bed not so blissfully unaware of taste and smell for more than a week has been good, except that sometimes a pancrea seemed to cry out or a random bone seemed to screech seeking attention.

All I said was, ‘hang on, you are gonna be fine soon’ but that is what the doc said too.

‘Can I come for a check up?’ No, no, not needed,’ says she. ‘Can I get a test done?’ No, not needed’, said she.

Dolo, le lo, cetrizine le lo, bus rest karo.

‘But how can she say that without checking you’, asks my daughter, ‘doctors can say that’, I explain vaguely.

But that seemed to work, nay, it worked almost. I could almost begin to see through watery eyes and hold up my head a bit more longer.

But was it, the villain, now so notorious, I have no clue. Since I neither see/meet others, nor am I seen or met with, it is just be fine.

Perhaps yes, perhaps not, whatever it was it feels good to have the bones back to their functioning self and be rid of sudden unexpected aches and pains.

Finally, a bit of reading too, and some playing with Andrew.

Aches and pains with fever are becoming more difficult to deal with each passing year, they say, with incessant pill popping , our immunity is lower and severity of the flus are growing.

Some basic lessons were learnt.

Drink hot water preferably the Jeeraka vellam.

Eat home cooked food.

Eat on time.

Prepare sambhar and rasam.

Consume salads.

Start a kitchen garden.

Sit out in the sun.

Clean.Clean. Clean.

An incredible life- david attenborough

We watch, A Life on Our Planet and we are silent, strangely, perhaps it is not that strange either, considering how the movie is almost a requiem for the planet, our only home.

My twenty year girl next to me wonders of a world twenty years from now, will there be water, what will be of the air, what places to live on? I have no answer.

In the documentary, David Attenborough who started off his life as an avid enthusiastic student of nature, capturing its beauty from an incredibly young twenty, does not give any answer either.

Instead, he asks raises painful questions of the choices we made, as mankind, of the lives we destroyed with impunity, and a new world order we created or helped create through our actions and mostly through our inactions, a anthropocentric world, where all other organisms are pushed to the periphery, where man plundered nature believing it to be limitless, his very own akshayapatra, he being the center of the world, the world being his servant with limitless resources, all of which has been proved thoroughly baseless and unscientific to say the least.

And which has led to the catastrophe we see unfold around us, day in and day out, the consequences of our gross, unkind and unthoughtful interferences in the wild.

The reality of which hits us only when a landslide happens close to our homes or when the ground water in our area depletes and we begin to pay for water delivered to our doorstep with the help of tanker lorries.

We are so cocooned in our silos, looking at our plastic gadgets, setting off in our metallic motored vehicles and enjoying ourselves in the closed seclusions of large concrete houses with a variety of lights dimming out the reality of the life that we are supposed to be part of that we have no knowledge of the reality until it hits us hard at a very personal and painful level….

Till perhaps the tube wells draw in arsenic, or large formations cover a well known river or birds stop chirping in the neighbourhood, till then, our sewage will keep running into the nearby lake, cause since when did we need those waters, eh!

The garbage dump next door is live-able with for most of us, till the stench gets to our nostrils and makes it difficult to breathe, till then we do believe in happy co-existence!

One of the rich colonies in my neighborhood push their waste into the nearby lake, with apartments selling at not less than a crore, it does not occur to the buyer or the seller not the least the builder, to check whether the basic treatment of sewage and other waste is made available in the compound, instead an open canal has been constructed to push the dirt to the lake, with the blessings of the BBMP of course, now, it is common knowledge that the lake water is never going to be needed as long as the tap water is available, right!

In the movie, the hotly contested scene of walruses jumping to death from the cliff is dramatic and poignant, though probably contrived. What cannot be ignored is the cataclysmic changes in the eco system which we are living with and the urgency to take corrective measures and well, learn to live within our means as a species.

There is much criticism of the over dramatization of the facts as depicted in the movie, but we really cannot contest the facts of dwindling forest cover, accelerated extinction of birds and animals, and increasing contamination of wild spaces.

Perhaps we have domesticated the world enough that there is not much wild about it anymore!